What can a baby teach you about mindfulness? September 30 2017, 0 Comments
Today I wanted to share a mindfulness tip. 3 months ago Laney made me a mama! It has been the most joyful experience of my life, but there have been moments where I've been tested (like many mothers would understand) and I've had to call on my own mindfulness practice to get me through!
When Laney was about 3 or 4 weeks old she became very unsettled overnight. Her clockwork sleeping and feeding pattern went out the window for a number of weeks! Was it a growth spurt, was it wind? Who knows! She was often awake from 7, 8 or 9pm at night until 1, 2, 3 or even 5am once before she would finally settle. It was tough going for a while. I found it so much easier to navigate using my mindfulness practice, in particularly the pillars of patience, acceptance and non-judgement!
In the wee hours of the night whenever Laney woke up unsettled or looking for another feed I had two options...
1. I could look at the clock and judge the hour as 'good' or 'bad'.
Clock watching + judging led to thoughts like... "OMG I'm going to be soooo tired tomorrow!" which led to feelings of frustration ("what's wrong with her?"), anger ("why won't she go to sleep?") and self-doubt ("what am I doing wrong?") It would result in me getting impatient with the poor little bebe who was still trying to adjust to the world. This state of mind wasn't conducive to her or my wellbeing, leaving me feeling all worked up and finding it difficult to get back to sleep once she finally drifted off! It wasn't a very pretty picture. I would feel super tired and mummy guilt would set in for getting so grumpy. Perhaps you've been here and can relate?
2. I could look at the clock out of curiosity and choose NOT to judge the time (or Laney waking, needing a feed or being unsettled) as 'good' or 'bad'.
Instead I could be curious and accept the time for what it was ("ah interesting it's 3am"), not attach any specific meaning to the time, and NOT wish for things to be different, trusting that some things run on their own time and are out of my control. I could choose patience and compassion for myself ("I'm doing the best I can") and Laney ("she's a little bub, she's not deliberately trying to piss me off!")
Do you know which option makes me feel much calmer and more content? Option 2 of course!! But you know what else? It takes consistent practice. Just as I'd nailed this Laney started to sleep through! Which leads to another post... the super helpful mantra 'this too shall pass.'
If you're in the mood for some self enquiry I invite you to consider these questions:
Where in your life are you judging things as 'good' or 'bad' and allowing that to negatively affect you?
Perhaps you're judging the weather and letting that dictate your day and mood?
Perhaps you've judged someone or yourself?
Where in your life are you not accepting things for what they are and wishing things were different?
Where are you wishing to be further ahead?
When and where do you tend to find yourself being impatient?
Does being caught in traffic wind you up?
This is one way I'm using my mindfulness practice in motherhood so far but it's completely applicable to other areas of your life too. If you found this blog post helpful or know someone who would benefit from it, please share!
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